Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology BSc (Hons)

Overview

We’re learning more about our universe, but there’s still much more to discover. Join us in expanding our knowledge of astrophysics on this BSc (Hons) Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology degree course.

You’ll deepen your understanding of the fundamental laws of physics, and apply this knowledge to the structure and behaviour of some of the largest and smallest elements of existence.

As well as gaining knowledge and skills in physics, astrophysics and cosmology, you’ll develop a combination of mathematical and computational knowledge that's sought after by employers in many industries.

What you'll experience

On this course you’ll:

  • Be taught by leading scientists from the University's Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG)
  • Explore stars, galaxies, black holes and gravitational waves
  • Use advanced equipment like SCIAMA, the University’s supercomputer
  • Access Hampshire Astronomical Group facilities at Clanfield Observatory, which are equipped with various telescopes including a 24-inch reflector
  • Go on visits to aerospace businesses like BAE Systems and Airbus Defence
  • Study at a university where physics research was ranked in the top 10 nationally for quality of research outputs in the latest Government-backed REF (Research Excellence Framework)

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course. We can help you identify placements, internships and voluntary opportunities that will complement your studies.

You may be able to do a placement through the South East Physics Network (SEPnet) Bursary Scheme. This 8-week placement includes a £2000 bursary.

What you'll study 

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.

Year 1

Core modules

Electricity And Magnetism – 20 credits

On this module you'll look at a core component of physics degrees: electricity and magnetism.

Introduction To Computational Physics – 20 credits

The computational modelling of physical systems is a key skill that employers are in need of. On this module you'll learn to use modern computational tools such as MATLAB software to solve physical problems that have been analysed and expressed in a manageable mathematical form.

Introduction To Laboratory And Field Physics – 20 credits

This module introduces you to good lab practice using various equipment and you'll develop skills using sensors and data-logging. You'll learn how planning, thoughtful execution and interpretation of practical investigations of physical systems has been key in the advance of physics.

Introduction To Mathematical Physics 1 – 20 credits

Physics is a quantitative science that requires you to have skills in mathematics to understand and apply key physical principles. 

Introduction To Mathematical Physics 2 – 20 credits

On this module you'll focus on physics as a quantitative science that requires skills and experience in mathematics to understand and apply key physical principles. 

Space Science And Applications Of Physics - 20 credits

In this module you'll look at how physics is a part of our global context and current society, and how we use physics to explore our place in the Universe.

Year 2

Core modules

Introduction To Modern Physics And Astrophysics – 20 credits

Theories of modern physics describe the behaviour of matter at all scales (from the smallest to the very largest scales) and provide the ultimate explanation for life, the universe and everything inside it.

Mathematical Physics – 20 credits

On this module you'll look at mathematical modelling and the use of approximations to solve problems in physics.

Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics - 20 credits

Classical thermodynamics developed mainly in response to the study of heat engines and is concerned with the connections between measurable, bulk properties.

Waves and Optics - 20 credits

On this module you'll develop an essential understanding of the physics of oscillations, waves motion, laser physics, interference and diffraction.

Optional modules

Computational Physics – 20 credits

On this module you'll develop your understanding and skills in computational modelling, and expand your coding knowledge to include Python, named the most in-demand coding language in 2017.

Industrial Placement – Physics – 20 credits

On this placement year you'll get industrial and commercial experience working for an employer, or self-employed experience if starting up a business.

Modern Foreign Language (IWLP) - 20 credits

In this module, you'll study 1 of 8 modern languages on the University's free Institution-Wide Language Programme.

Mechanics And Dynamics – 20 credits

In this module, you'll explore analytical mechanics, applying both Lagrangian and Hamiltonian approaches to simple mechanical systems and the exploitation of symmetry. 

Practical Laboratory And Field Physics – 20 credits

On this module you'll research, design, implement, critically assess and report on experimental procedures developed to solve specific problems.

Universe: Planetary Systems, Stars and Galaxies - 20 credits

On this module, you'll study the fundamentals of astronomy and cosmology, including the study of (exo)planets, stars, galaxies, and the Universe as a whole.

Year 3

Core modules

Modern Astrophysics – 20 credits

In this module, you'll study the theoretical foundations of main topics in astrophysics, and their development from 20th century thought to recent discoveries.

Physical Cosmology – 20 credits

Physical cosmology is the study of the origin, evolution and fate of the universe, including the structure of the universe on the largest observable scales and the physical laws that determine its dynamics.

Solid State Physics And Detectors - 20 credits

Physics plays an important role in wealth creation and influences our conception of the world and our place in it.

Optional modules

Group Project – 20 credits

On this module you'll see how your knowledge and skills can be used in employment and learn how to work in a team, stick to budget and timeline, and report your work.

Health Physics – 20 credits

On this module you'll get introduced to the application of physics in healthcare science.  

Introduction to General Relativity and Cosmology – 20 credits

In this module, you'll study General Relativity and its main applications in astrophysics and cosmology, You'll learn how to derive the main exact and approximate solutions of Einstein's equations, and how to use the mathematical tools needed to do that.

Introduction To Multiferroic Materials And Their Applications – 20 credits

Functional materials are sensitive to environmental changes such as temperature, pressure, electric field, magnetic field, optical wavelength, absorbed gas molecules and pH value, and they're extremely important to future technological applications.

Mathematical Methods For Physics – 20 credits

This module introduces you to the mathematical methods used in physics to describe and model physical systems such as mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum/atomic/nuclear systems, solid state physics, astrophysics and cosmology.

Nanoscale Surface Physics – 20 credits

This module gives you an advanced introduction to the physics and chemistry of nanostructured matter.

Particle Physics – 20 credits

On this module you'll get an understanding of modern particle physics from experimental and theoretical perspectives.

Project – 20 credits

On this module you develop, plan, manage, complete and report a physics research project, developing your understanding and knowledge by coming up with solutions to problems.

Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Information – 20 credits

Quantum physics is the foundation of atomic, molecular and optical physics, materials design, elementary particle physics and nuclear physics.

Undergraduate Ambassador – 20 credits

In this module, you'll put your mathematical study to work in a local school.

Teaching

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • laboratory work
  • problem-based learning exercises
  • computational physics workshops
  • external site visits
  • project work

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • laboratory reports
  • individual or group presentations and posters
  • coursework problem sheets
  • computer modelling reports
  • open and closed book examination

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

The way you’re assessed may depend on the modules you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year 1 students: 28% by written exams and 72% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 47% by written exams, 4% by practical exams and 49% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 43% by written exams, 7% by practical exams and 50% by coursework

Careers and opportunities

When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service will help you find a job or identify further study and academic research opportunities.

What can you do with a Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology degree?

Previous students on this course have gone on to further study, research and employment in areas such as:

  • PhD and Master's study in cosmology, astrophysics, astronomy and theoretical physics
  • the space systems and aerospace industry
  • education
  • medical physics
  • finance
  • data analysis

After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.

BSc (Hons), BSc (Hons) Award
September Start
Full-time, Sandwich Study Mode
3 years Duration

Entry Requirements For This Course

104 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, with 32 points from A level Mathematics, Physics, or Electronics.

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

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